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Guanacaste

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About Guanacaste

Recently the Nicoya Peninsula (most of which is in Guanacaste Province) was given "Blue Zone" status, because the many centenarians found here still manage to live active and healthy lives. It's easy to see why. A province in northwestern Costa Rica, Guanacaste boasts pristine white sandy beaches and a renowned surfer culture. Laid-back and beautiful, it also boasts rare dry tropical rainforests, volcanoes and an interior peopled by cowboys and rodeos. In our collection of the best places to stay in Guanacaste, we've highlighted a great range of boutiques, pampering luxury resorts and ocean-front eco-hotels, all of which are perfect for that tropical seaside escape you've surely been dreaming of!

Stretching from the yoga-loving, underdeveloped beachfront of Nosara to the wilder shores of the southern Nicoya Peninsula, this region is home to a chilled yet healthy pace-of-life. There are plenty of activities available, from golf at a number of courses along the Papagaya Peninsula to the north, great surfing around Tamarindo, and a wide range of adventure sports in the interior. Whether you're watching turtles nesting along the coastline, bird-watching in the Santa Rosa National Park or just lazing in the sunshine on the Playa Azul, you'll fall in love with this enchanting and diverse province.

Where to stay - which town/area?

  • Tamarindo is a wonderful town towards the top of the peninsula. Boasting fantastic beaches, watersports like surfing predominate here. During nesting season you can watch turtles lay their eggs on the beach, and there's also an excellent Saturday farmer's market. It's a good place to stay if you want easy access to the rainforest.
  • The smaller Nosara, two hours south by road, is less developed, but therein lies its charm. Also popular with surfers, it's renowned for its yoga retreats and the Ostional Wildlife Refuge for turtles, who hatch on its black volcanic sands year round, though they peak between August and December.
  • Nicoya Peninsula in general is ideal for hikers and bird-watchers, and boasts another important wildlife refuge in the Diria National Park.

In summary, Guanacaste and in particular the Nicoya Peninsula (all but its most southern end is in the province - for further resorts and hotels at its southern end, see our Best Places to Stay in Puntarenas) is a mesmerising region of enchanting natural beauty, attracting surfers, hikers and those just looking to escape. However, Costa Rica is becoming an increasingly popular holiday destination, so if you don't want to be disappointed, we advise you book your choice of the best places to stay in Guanacaste as soon as possible.

The best places to stay in Guanacaste

In Tamarindo

  • Cala Luna is a contemporary boutique hotel boasting an enviable location rght on Playa Langosta, on the outskirts of Tamarindo. Chic rooms are light and airy with soft hues, plenty of glass and luxurious bathrooms. Spend days spotting exotic wildlife or surfing the waves. Fabulous.

In Nosara

  • The Harmony Hotel is an eco hotel steps away from the pristine surfer haven Playa Guiones, on the edge of Nosara. Ten secluded bungalows are beautifully designed with simple white washed walls, high beamed ceilings and private patios. Food is health driven and delicious.

For Romance

  • Villa Buena Onda is a small luxury boutique hotel sitting peacefully above Playa del Coco. The 8 spacious suites are contemporary in style with soft hues, minimalist design and large terraces to take in the outstanding views. A spoiling spa and pool complete with swim-up bar makes this a hard spot to leave. Glorious.
  • For an adult only experience, head for the Casa Chameleon Las Catalinas. Perched above the sea, each suite boasts a four-poster bed, a plunge pool and an expansive deck to enjoy the glorious sunsets. Romantic and grown up, in a top location with great food.

For Beach life

  • Azul Ocean Club Hotel is an elegant oceanfront club set in lush gardens. Light and airy white washed rooms benefit from lovely sea views. Feast on excellent cuisine in the Seaside Restaurant. Just steps from a white sandy beach and multiple tours are on offer to the surrounding nature reserves. A tropical paradise

Eco hotel

  • Rancho Humo is a contemporary eco ranch boasting a spectacular location on the plains of Tempisque River delta. Smart rooms are light and airy with floor to ceiling windows, crisp white linen and contemporary art. A glorious spa and tranquil pool provide utter rejuvenation after a day outdoors. Rural bliss.
  • Rio Perdido is a fabulous property nestling amid the forest in Fortuna and provides beautiful scenery right on your doorstep. It features chic, contemporary suites with an award-winning restaurant and there's even a thermal river with hot-spring pools! A splendid choice for a countryside escape.

For Wellness

  • Punta Islita is a collection of simply decorated villas and suites between the forest and the ocean. What's special about this place is its combination of wellness and activities - from local healing treatments in the Nanku spa to horseback riding on the beach or kayaking amongst the mangroves - in a totally unspoilt and pristine environment towards the southern end of the Nicoya Peninsula.

For an apartment or villa

  • Our partner Booking.com has a wide range of villas and apartments in the nearby area.

Travel information

  • The best time to travel is during the dry season, between January and April, when the temperature ranges between 22 and 35 degrees celsius. Peak turtle nesting though is in the rainy season from August to December,
  • Fly to Daniel Oduber International Airport, in Guanacaste.
  • If you want to rent a car, contact our partner Rentalcars.

Still not sure?

Weather

Monthly Weather in Guanacaste

Best Hotels in Guanacaste

  • Azul Ocean Club Hotel Playa Azul, Guanacaste 15 rooms from £116

    Back to Nature  -  Explore local nature reserves and witness turtles nesting.
    Beach Life  -  Located right on a white sandy Playa Azul beach.
    Birdwatching  -  Take a tour of Palo Verde National Park, one of the best bird watching sites in Costa Rica.
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool.
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets
    Recommended by  -  Small Luxury Hotels

    An elegant ocean front club set in lush gardens. Light and airy white washed rooms benefit from lovely sea views. Feast on excellent cuisine in the Seaside Restaurant. Just steps from a white sandy beach and multiple tours are on offer to the surrounding nature reserves. A tropical paradise. See More

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  • Rancho Humo Guanacaste 10 rooms from £133

    Back to Nature  -  Boasting an outstanding location amongst the wetlands and bordering the Palo Verde National Park.
    Birdwatching  -  Head out into the wetlands with the hotel naturalist.
    Remote  -  Off the beaten track.
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    Air conditioningRestaurantSwimming PoolDisabled accessParkingNo pets

    A contemporary eco ranch boasting a spectacular location on the plains of Tempisque River delta. Smart rooms are light and airy with floor to ceiling windows, crisp white linen and contemporary art. A glorious spa and tranquil pool provide utter rejuvenation after a day outdoors. Rural bliss. See More

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  • Rio Perdido Guanacaste Province 20 rooms from £168

    Total relaxation  -  Rio Perdido offers an extensive array of spa treatments to help you fully unwind
    Hideaway  -  A veritable jungle hideaway
    Great walks  -  Make the most out of the more than 11 km worth of surrounding hiking trails
    Remote  -  Off the beaten track.
    SpaRestaurantGardenDisabled accessParking

    The fabulous Rio Perdido is nestled amongst the forest in Fortuna and provides beautiful scenery right on your doorstep. It features chic, contemporary suites with an award-winning restaurant and there's even a thermal river with hot-spring pools! A splendid choice for a countryside escape. See More

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  • Cala Luna Tamarindo (Guanacaste) 41 rooms from £173

    Active Holiday  -  The coastal rainforest positioning provides the perfect terrain for numerous outdoor pursuits.
    Sailing  -  Take a half or full day excursion in one of the hotel's boats and choose to snorkle, fish or dive.
    Surfing  -  The hotel offers lessons and Tamarindo beach is perfect for beginners.
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool.
    Air conditioningRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets

    A contemporary boutique hotel boasting an enviable location just steps away from white sand Playa Langosta. Chic rooms, suites and villas are light and airy with soft hues, plenty of glass and luxurious bathrooms. Excellent restaurant, poolside bar and pampering spa treatments. Fabulous. See More

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  • Punta Islita Guanacaste 50 rooms from £218

    Beach Life  -  Set overlooking a black sand beach which is ideal for (strong) swimmers while at nearby beaches you are likely to spot turtles
    Total relaxation  -  With its tranquil natural surrounds, spoiling spa, swimming pools, hammocks, and yoga classes — this is a relaxing stay
    Active Holiday  -  There is endless choice when it comes to things to do here from hiking and horse back riding to art classes
    Restaurant  -  1492 Restaurant serves Costa Rican dishes while Borrancho Beach Club serves seafood and ceviche
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenParking

    A collection of rooms, suites, and villas set amidst the forest overlooking the Pacific. Interiors are simply styled with terracotta tiled floors, wooden furniture, exposed beams, and whitewashed walls. There's a spoiling spa, two swimming pools, and a host of activities. A relaxing hideaway. See More

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  • The Harmony Hotel Nosara, Guanacaste 10 rooms from £281

    Back to Nature  -  Set amidst the jungle find howler monkeys, hummingbirds and iguanas all just within the garden.
    Surfing  -  A surfer's paradise with great waves and just steps from the beach.
    Kayaking  -  Kayak along the Nosara river estuary and search the jungle for wildlife along the way.
    Fishing  -  Go deep sea fishing for ahi tuna, dorado (mahi mahi) and snapper.
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenNo pets
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Mr & Mrs Smith

    An off the beaten track eco hotel situated on the pristine surf beach at Playa Guiones. Ten secluded bungalows are beautifully designed with simple white washed walls, high beamed ceilings and private patios. Food is health driven and delicious. A grown-up surfers haven. See More

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  • Villa Buena Onda Nicoya Peninsula, Guanacaste 8 rooms from £437

    Back to Nature  -  Set amidst the jungle find howler monkeys and exotic birds within the property grounds itself.
    Exclusive use  -  8 suites, perfect for groups or special occasions
    Cooking classes  -  Learn to cook like a Costa Rican in the hotel's complimentary classes.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets
    Recommended by  -  I Escape

    A small luxury boutique exclusive rental sitting peacefully above Playa del Coco. The 8 spacious suites are contemporary in style with soft hues, minimalist design and large terraces with outstanding views. A spoiling spa and pool complete with swim-up bar makes this a hard spot to leave. Glorious. See More

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  • Casa Chameleon Las Catalinas Playa Flamingo, Guanacaste 21 rooms from £770

    Romantic Break  -  Has combined all the conditions for romance; sunset views, al fresco dining, private pools & spoiling spa treatments
    Private Hot Tub  -  Every suite boasts a private terrace, saltwater plunge pool & hammocks with sea views
    Beach nearby  -  Two of the best beaches in Costa Rica are a short drive from the property
    Sea Views  -  Sweeping views, perched up the sea.
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenViewsParking
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, Kiwi Collection, Tablet

    Private adult-only resort perched on Nicoya peninsula. Each suite comes with four-poster beds, high thread count sheets, plunge pools, & expansive outdoor decks. Sleek decor with an indigenous edge blends Moroccan & Indonesian influences. Couples retreat with killer views that is very hard to leave. See More

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